Fake Shemp

Instant resurrection: just keep the body double out of focus!
"Hey, you can't let something like a little death get in the way. There's money to be made."

Every once in a while, you want to bring back a guest star or former recurring character, and you want this so much that the fact that the appropriate actor isn't available (i.e. unwilling, busy, or dead) doesn't stop you.

Or perhaps they are a regular but they unexpectedly quit or died or you had to abruptly fire them or are just unavailable temporarily and you need to buy time to write them out or replace them.

Pulling off The Other Darrin is tricky under the best of circumstances. Trying to do it for a one-shot appearance is pretty much impossible.

So you pull off something dicey: use a stand-in, and don't show their face. You can combine this with a little Stock Footage to improve the effect. Not bad, as long as the audience doesn't get wise. In more recent years, creating Serkis Folk that can pass for the real deal has been tried, but it's rarely passable (and ethically dubious).

This method has also been used to allow two characters normally played by the same actor to appear in the same frame.

This is somewhat easier to do with animation – after all, the characters look the same no matter what actor you use, and sometimes you can even get away with a silent cameo. Just... if they have to talk, be very careful of which voice actor sound-alike you hire.

Can sometimes overlap with Obvious Stunt Double and Stock Footage Failure.

See also The Dead Rise to Advertise, which often overlaps with this trope.


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  • There was an advertising campaign for Galaxy chocolate which used a very convincing Serkis Folk recreation of Audrey Hepburn, casting a lookalike and using CGI to complete the illusion. This was considered something of an aesthetic triumph, but many people found the concept of puppeting a duplicate of a virtual dead woman to sell cheap chocolate irritating and creepy.
  • Orville Redenbacher made a posthumous commercial appearance in 2007 requiring three actors to play the role of the late popcorn magnate: one as the body double, one as the face double (with prosthetics), and one providing the voice. The results were... unsettling.
  • The "Give A Few Bob" campaign in the UK to raise awareness for prostate cancer featured Bob Monkhouse, who had died from the illness a few years earlier. Archive footage, a body double and CGI was used to piece together a monologue from Bob, with audio taken from his stand up shows and a voice actor filling in for the rest. For the most part, it's very convincing.
  • Hardees (or Carl's Jr., depending on where you live) ran a special ad for an X-Men: Days of Future Past tie-in burger that featured a silent and uncredited actress in Mystique's trademark blue makeup and prosthetics, since they couldn't actually get Jennifer Lawrence to appear.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Due to her death in 2003, You Inoue was unable to reprise her role as Sayla Mass in the third Zeta Gundam: A New Translation film. During Sayla's brief cameo, the director used archived audio of Inoue from the original Mobile Suit Gundam to make her appearance work, which led to the actress receiving a Posthumous Credit.
  • Averted in the DiC dub of Sailor Moon, where in episode 82, a Clip Show, many of the past characters had to be voiced by sound-alikes due to DiC not wanting to pay all of their voice actors. Apparently, even cutting-and-pasting their voices would have cost too much money. The sound-alikes were voice actors that already had roles in the current batch of episodes being dubbed, and were in the studio anyway, for instance, Luna's voice filled in for Queen Beryl.
  • In Ronin Warriors, many of the English voice actors were sick for the recording of episode 2, and due to the fast recording schedule, sound-alikes filled in.
  • In Persona 4: The Animation and Persona 3: The Movie, Igor's lines in the Japanese version are all reused recordings from the original games due to the death of his actor Isamu Tanonaka.
  • For copyright issues, the Italian dub of Mazinger Z covered only the first half if the series. In 2015, when the series was released on DVD for the first time, they voiced the second half of the series, obviously replacing the entire cast... except that, when Tetsuya Tsurugi appears in the final episode to help Koji, they used edited voice clips from the dub of Great Mazinger in order to keep his original voice actor, who actually died two years before.
  • Sgt. Frog: Many minor characters, like aliens created for specific episodes, return later in minor roles. Unless they were voiced by one of the show's main voice actors, this usually means they either get random voice actors replacing them or just appear mute. This happens more rarely with minor human characters, but there are still some examples, like Natsumi's and Fuyuki's teachers in later episodes.
    • Sumomo is probably the most obvious example. The last time her VA returns to do her character's voice is in the beginning of the third season. Afterwards, Sumomo only makes minor silent cameos or uses old audio.
    • There's also an example with Danceman in the 5th season. He's shown in a far away shot of a concert, which uses stock audio.

    Fan Works 
  • In-Universe example from Movie Night At Freddy's: Halfway through the "Movie" Jonathan Dale suddenly took over from Doug Thompson, who was the original voice actor for Freddy. According to Freddy animatronic versions of Ricky and Albert killed Thompson and stuffed him into a suit.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Three Stooges:
    • Shemp Howard died before they had finished enough films to fulfill their contract. So, the last few Shemp shorts mainly featured just Larry and Moe, borrowed some Shemp scenes from old films, and used a body double (bit actor Joe Palma) wherever they absolutely had to.
    • Even before Shemp died, mixing old and new material in Stooges comedies was pretty common. On occasion, actors appearing in stock footage would be unavailable to shoot new scenes, resulting in the use of usually pretty noticable stand-ins.
    • Fake Shemps were also used whenever the Stooges had to play multiple roles. For instance, A Merry Mix-Up features a scene in which Moe, Larry, and Joe (Besser) reunite with their long-lost triplet brothers. Despite their efforts, the six Fake Shemps used in this sequence show their faces a few too many times.
    • Larry Fine suffered a stroke during the production the unsold television pilot Kook's Tour. Producer/director Norman Maurer stood in for Larry in certain shots.
  • The Trope Namer is director Sam Raimi, who coined the term "Fake Shemp" and "Shemping" (inspired by the above) when most of the cast of The Evil Dead (1981) had to leave for their regular jobs, and he and his brother Ted Raimi had to fill in a lot of scenes just by themselves.
  • The Little Rascals short "Bargain Day" features a couple of stand-ins for Jackie Cooper and Donald Haines in some scenes, as both were busy working in the Paramount feature Skippy for part of the production.
  • Older Than Television. The Troubled Production of Erich von Stroheim film Foolish Wives became more troubled when actor Rudolph Christians, who played Andrew Hughes (one of the main parts), died during production. Von Stroheim was forced to cast a body double. Viewers will note that in several scenes Hughes is shot from behind, from a distance, or with his face obscured by scenery. In some scenes, close-ups of Christians are awkwardly inserted into scenes they obviously don't match. This unfortunately impacted some important scenes, such as Hughes' final confrontation with Sergius.
  • George McFly in the Back to the Future sequels did this, The Other Darrin, and Filming For Easy Dub to get around the absence of Crispin Glover. This trope was invoked by disguising The Other Darrin, Jeffrey Weissman, with sunglasses, out of focus shots, and even having him spend the entire "future" portion of the film "inverted", in which George was actually upside-down. Where the filmmakers got in trouble was with the recycling of stock footage of Glover from the previous film—this led to a lawsuit from Glover, who claimed they had misappropriated his likeness. Though the suit was settled quietly before its court date, the Screen Actors Guild rewrote their rules on stock footage as a result of this.
  • After Brandon Lee was accidentally shot and killed during the filming of The Crow, a stand-in and some clever early digital manipulations were used to finish the film.
  • One of the most infamous examples is from the legendary Plan 9 from Outer Space. Bela Lugosi died after filming only a few scenes, so Ed Wood had his wife's chiropractor stand in for Lugosi and cover his face in all his scenes. This, despite the fact that he was about a foot taller than Lugosi, had a completely different-sounding voice,note  and was bald (Lugosi had a full head of hair up to his death).
    • Even worse was that the Lugosi footage wasn't even for Plan 9; it was just random footage of Lugosi in Tor Johnson's front yard and walking through a cemetery dressed in a Dracula outfit. Wood just wanted to recycle that when he got around to Plan 9, which is why Lugosi only appears in a few scenes that are just played over and over with little relevance to the actual film.
    • And "cover his face" means "behind a Dracula cape". The movie has no connection to Dracula, other than that Lugosi was famous for playing Dracula.
  • Being deceased didn't stop Peter Sellers from starring in Trail of the Pink Panther, for which Blake Edwards borrowed outtakes of Sellers from earlier Pink Panther movies and fabricated a plot about Clouseau taking off in a plane and disappearing.
    • Prior to his death, Sellers had been planning to make one more Clouseau film without Edwards (as their professional relationship had become so strained); in fact Edwards was paid not to do it. When Sellers died, Edwards made Trail as the first part of a relaunch of the series with a new lead character (introduced in the second part, Curse of the Pink Panther), which comes across as a downright ghoulish grab for a Cash Cow Franchise. Sellers' widow successfully sued Edwards and United Artists for disgracing the actor's memory.
    • In Curse, Clouseau undergoes plastic surgery and turns evil, played by Roger Moore. Son of the Pink Panther established that he died of old age after that.
  • In Thor: The Dark World, Natalie Portman was unavailable for reshoots. The ending kissing scene instead had Chris Hemsworth's wife, actress Elsa Pataky, stand in as Jane wearing Jane's costume and a wig, with film Wizardry hiding this.
  • Infamous movie example: Oliver Reed died during the filming of Gladiator with only about half of his scenes filmed. So they used shadows, CGI, and creative re-editing of already-shot scenes, along with some stock footage, to finish filming and rewrote several important scenes that would have been otherwise unfilmable.
  • While James Bond's nemesis Blofeld is played by one partly seen actor in three movies and three different ones after being revealed, For Your Eyes Only has him returning, with his face never shown, just for Bond to kill him off for real (so the producers wouldn't need to reuse him considering the legal disputes for the creation of Blofeld and SPECTRE).
  • Jean Harlow suddenly died during production of what would become her final film, Saratoga in 1937. Since not all of her scenes had been filmed, her character was written out of a few scenes, and for remaining scenes where her character absolutely HAD to be present, three doubles were hired: one for closeups, one for long shots, and a vocal double. To this day, it's not clear which scenes feature her, and which are her stand-ins.
  • Akira Kurosawa's early film Stray Dog had several scenes where actor Toshiro Mifune was unavailable for various reasons. In order to show the character, Kurosawa had his assistant director, Ishiro Honda, stand in, as scenes were shot from far away, or from his waist down.
  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: Laurence Olivier, via the magic of stock footage and CGI, managed to appear as Doctor Totenkopf, the Big Bad, despite the huge setback of being dead. Which is quite appropriate, considering Doctor Totenkopf died twenty years before the film's setting.
    • In the same way, Marlon Brando reprised his role as Jor-El in Superman Returns from beyond the grave, making use of stunningly realistic CGI and recycled and unused dialogue from the Richard Donner movies.
  • When Superman II was turned over to Richard Lester, Gene Hackman refused to work with the new director, so some scenes feature a body double (watch him climb down the ice in the Fortress of Solitude... backwards) and a number of his lines were dubbed by a (not very convincing) voice double. All shots with the real actor were filmed under Richard Donner.
    • According to Tom Mankiewicz, a reviewer even said that Hackman was funnier under Lester.
  • Game of Death: Bruce Lee had died when very little of the film had been made; only the famous fight scenes had been finished. In the end the film not only had minimal resemblance to Lee's original vision but the film-makers went to great lengths to hide the fact that "Bruce Lee" was in fact an unknown Korean martial artist (who was not a stuntman or an acrobat so he had to be doubled by Yuen Biao in more stunt-oriented sequences). In addition to the typical tricks of the time (face-obscuring glasses and lack of headshots), one truly egregious example comes within the first minutes of the film when the baddies try to threaten a perfectly stoic Lee, portrayed in the scene by a cardboard cutout taped to a mirror. The film-makers even went as far as including footage of Bruce Lee's actual funeral.
    • Not only that, but they did a follow-up film in 81 that again used Kim Tai Chung (with Biao again doubling him) along with Bruce Lee footage, called Tower Of Death in some places and Game of Death 2 in others. In this one, Bruce's "character" dies midway through the film and his brother takes over the role, played by Kim Tai Chung (with Biao still doubling) without any need to splice Lee in. Oh, and they used footage from Bruce's funeral again.
    • Notorious Bruce Lee Clone Bruce Li was offered the role in tandem with Kim Tai Chung but turned it down, not thinking it appropriate that he should officially try and pass himself off as Bruce Lee (his real name is Ho Chung Tao, and Bruce Li was a name forced on him by producers).
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as the Terminator in Terminator Salvation while being the Governator at the exact same time, thanks to the magic of CGI and a mold from 1984 combined. This example is unique in the fact that the crew decided to get permission from the actor before shemping him. It looks good. Really good. Some would say it falls under the Uncanny Valley... which just makes it more appropriate for the character since we're supposed to be seeing a soulless human-looking death machine. The directors' backup plan just in case Arnold said no was to just have the Terminator's face blown off just before anybody could see it. Voila.
  • The Cult Classic 1954 film Salt of the Earth had to be completed with body doubles after the film's left-wing subject matter got lead actress Rosaura Revueltas deported back to Mexico.
  • John Candy died during filming of Wagons East, and had to be digitally edited into his remaining scenes.
  • Hollywood screen legends such as Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman were "Shemped" in the movie Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid.
    • Cheryl Smith bore a remarkable resemblance to Veronica Lake, but her role was limited to playing the back of Lake's head.
  • In the "Can't Buy Me Love" sequence in A Hard Day's Night, the audience doesn't see John Lennon much, because he was also promoting his book In His Own Write during production.
  • During production of Alien³, it was discovered that Carrie Henn (the girl who played Newt in Aliens) was too old to convincingly play the part. This, coupled with substantial script rewrites and behind-the-scenes shenanigans led to her and fellow survivor Hicks being killed off for real at the beginning of the film. Newt's body is played by a body double (and only glimpsed in closeup shots of her eye and mouth for most of the time she's onscreen) in the finished film.
  • In the Soviet Sci-Fi Cult Classic Guest from the Future, Alisa shows off her abilities to the class by describing London in perfect English with Received Pronunciation. The problem is Natalia Guseva could not speak English with RP. So the director had Natalia Guseva mouth the words, but dubbed in lines spoken by the daughter of a British diplomat stationed in Moscow. Noticeably, after Alisa speaks for a second, the camera cuts to a shot of the class.
  • A short film called The Death of Xander Cage was filmed to explain what happened to the protagonist of the original XXX movie just before the events of the sequel. Vin Diesel did not return to play Xander, so the character was portrayed by Khristian Lupo, Diesel's stunt double. Xander's face is never shown, and all his dialogue consists of recycled sound bytes from the first movie.
  • Heath Ledger died in the middle of filming The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, so director Terry Gilliam ended up using Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell all for the same character.
    • This was a rare example that actively called attention to it and provided an in-story reason. When Ledger died, he had finished filming the "real world" scenes, but not the fantasy sequences. The solution? Establish that going through the mirror will sometimes change a person's appearance, then have his character played by a different actor each time he goes through. And given that his character turns out to be a duplicitous con man, it not only works, it actually adds another layer of symbolism to the fantasy scenes.
  • During filming of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Harrison Ford injured his back and was out for several weeks. To continue production, Steven Spielberg used Ford's stuntman Vic Armstrong to perform the action sequences (even the simpler ones Ford could do) from behind, and Ford later filmed a few token close-ups. It helped that Armstrong and Ford looks a lot like each other, to the extent that Ford's own son once went up to him believing it to be his dad.
    • Armstrong, who closely resembled Ford, also doubled him in the scene in Blade Runner where Deckard finds the snake scales in the bathtub, due to Ford being unavailable.
  • On Casino Royale (1967), due to the feud between Peter Sellers and Orson Welles, Sellers dropped out of the picture midway through filming. Because of this, the part of Peter Sellers, in the final scenes of the movie, is played by a cardboard cutout of Peter Sellers. In later versions, this cardboard cutout is replaced by previously shot footage of Sellers, dressed in Highland garb.
  • Paul Walker was killed in a car accident off the set of Fast & Furious 7, so his remaining scenes used CGI and doubles as well as the footage made before his death to retire his character without killing him off.
  • The last scene in The Seventh Seal, showing the Grim Reaper leading the characters who'd died during the movie, was hastily shot while the weather was just as cloudy as director Ingmar Bergman wanted. However, this was after filming had already wrapped for the day, and the actors had left, so he got some crew members and two tourists who just happened to be nearby and put them into the costumes.
  • Roy Kinnear died from a horseback riding accident during filming of Return of the Musketeers in 1988. His subsequent scenes were completed with a body double and voice-dubbing.
  • Lou Diamond Phillips was severely injured on the set of Young Guns II. A horse that he was riding got spooked and proceeded to drag him several yards. He suffered a broken arm and a shattered kneecap. The filming mostly proceeded without him, using a body double. Those far-away shots of Billy's gang riding to and fro weren't just for Scenery Porn.
  • During his ill-fated quest to film Dune in the 70s, Alejandro Jodorowsky desperately wanted Salvador Dalí to play the Emperor. Problem was, Dali specifically demanded an obscenely high salary. Jodorowsky promised to pay him on a per-minute basis, then immediately began planning for an elaborate robotic double to serve as a stand-in for most of the Emperor's scenes (if this sounds insane, well, this is Alejandro Jodorowsky we're talking about).
  • Most of Monty Python's members played multiple roles in each movie. When two of one actor's characters are in a scene together, the less prominent one is a stand-in. For example, in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, when Brother Maynard (Eric Idle) is reading an inscription describing the Castle of Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh to Arthur's Knights, Sir Robin (otherwise played by Idle) is portrayed by an obvious Shemp trying to conceal himself behind his shield. An arguably more amusing example is near the end of Monty Python's Life of Brian, in which Reg is played by John Cleese in one shot, then swapped with a look-alike when the Centurion, another of Cleese's characters, appears in the next.
  • Kristen Stewart didn't return for the Snow White and the Huntsman sequel The Huntsman: Winter's War, so the brief scenes of Snow White involved an obvious body double who was only filmed from behind.
  • Wesley Snipes was not always available for each day of filming for Blade II, as he had had three other movies out that year. Instead of waiting for Wesley to become available, the crew shot another actor (who was not Wesley's stunt double) for scenes where it was not necessary to see Wesley's face. The first scene being where Blade, Scud and Nyssa are riding in the helicopter to meet Damaskinos. The second was after Nyssa performed an autopsy on the dead reaper and confronts Blade in his quarters about his attitude toward the Bloodpack.
  • The Frankenstein Monster was subject to this in the original Universal Horror film series of the 1930s-40s:
    • In Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, Bela Lugosi played the Monster, except for the scene in which the creature is first thawed from the ice. Lugosi was either unavailable or unwilling to shoot the scene, so a stunt man was used and at one point his face is seen directly - in fact it's the first shot of the Monster's face in the entire movie - and he looks nothing like Lugosi.
    • During production of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Glenn Strange, who played the Monster, suffered a leg injury. Fortunately many of his scenes at the time required him to just lie on a gurney. For a scene in which he throws a woman through a window and chases the titular duo from the room, however, Lon Chaney Jr. - who was appearing in the film as The Wolf Man, but who had played the Monster years earlier in The Ghost of Frankenstein - put on the makeup and the suit and did the scene for Strange. Once you know, the Shemping is obvious, as Chaney's Monster is much more energetic.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • Tom Baker, the Fourth Doctor, refused to join the anniversary special "The Five Doctors", with the other then-living actors to play the role up to that point and an Other Darrin. His appearances were faked using stock footage from the unfinished story "Shada". A well-known and very convincing publicity shot for the story (which can be seen on the episode's page) did feature Baker — in the form of a frighteningly lifelike wax dummy.
      • Tom Baker ran into trouble as well, early in his career. In "The Sontaran Experiment" two-parter, the Fourth Doctor struggled in a fight with a Sontaran, all from behind. This is because Tom himself had hurt his neck and was in a neckbrace, so his stunt double had to do the fight, with Tom Baker providing voice over grunts.
    • Colin Baker was fired from the role of the Doctor, and (understandably) refused to come back to do a regeneration scene in "Time And The Rani". So instead, his successor Sylvester McCoy very briefly played the Sixth Doctor, wearing a wig and having his face blurred out before the regeneration into the Seventh.
      • An Easter Egg on the DVD revises this scene using CGI to morph Baker's likeness into McCoy's.
    • Some dire (but novel) CGI is used in "Dimensions in Time" to revive (the disembodied floating heads of) William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, who had died by that point.
    • In the 1996 TV movie, the Master (played by Gordon Tipple) was briefly seen on Skaro prior to his execution. The cage obscured most of his face. Originally, Tipple's Master provided the opening voiceover narration but his lines were replaced by Paul McGann's Doctor in the final cut. As a result, Word of God appears to have no problem with fan assumptions that this incarnation is actually intended to be the Anthony Ainley incarnation of the Master. Or that it may as well be him.
    • The whole gamut of previous incarnations of the Doctor appears in "The Name of the Doctor", using a combination of stand-ins and stock footage.
    • And again in "The Day of the Doctor":
    • At the very end of "The Time of the Doctor", the dying Eleventh Doctor hallucinates a visit from a young Amy Pond just before he regenerates. The thing is, the actress who previously played the child version of Amy had grown too old (she was a teenager at the time of filming), so the role was recast, with the new actress having her face obscured and being uncredited to keep people from noticing.
    • Spoofed in The Doctor Who Fun Book which proposed a fortieth anniversary special in which the Fourth Doctor and Adric (both known for massive Creator Backlash) were both played by literal cardboard cutouts.
    • In two different stories, the Second Doctor is unconscious for a whole episode, only seen from the back, so that Patrick Troughton could have a week off.
    • "The Chase" has an episode where the Doctor has to fight a robot double of himself constructed by the Daleks. This was done by having William Harnell face off against actor Edmund Warwick (who had previously doubled for Hartnell when he was injured filming "The Dalek Invasion of Earth") and keeping Warwick's back to the camera. Unfortunately, having both of them in the same shot makes it obvious that Warwick was several inches taller that Hartnell.
    • In "Heaven Sent", except for one brief sequence, a body double portrays Clara Oswald, who is only seen from the back.
    • In "Death In Heaven", Jeremiah Krage played a Cyber-converted version of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, giving the character a literal and proverbial parting salute three years after the death of Nicholas Courtney. Clad in a full-body Cyberman suit, Krage had to convey the character solely through stance and gesture.
  • So Weird: Subverting the Estranged Soap Family, Fiona was given a cameo in a third season episode where her family celebrated Thanksgiving, but as Cara de Liza wasn't available, she is only seen as a stand-in some distance off.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise did this in the alternate version of Star Trek: First Contact that was The Teaser for "In a Mirror, Darkly". Unable to afford James Cromwell to return as Zefram Cochrane, they pulled it off by using scenes from First Contact and then filming the new parts such that Cochrane's face is not seen in them.
  • The West Wing, "Tomorrow": As a matter of course, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has to show up for the presidential Inauguration. Apparently, Glenn Close, who had previously played Chief Justice Lang, wasn't available, as a lectern blocks our view of the Chief Justice's face during the oath of office.
  • Team Knight Rider, "Legion of Doom": As we had all hoped, Michael Knight made a cameo in the series' final episode. As we had all feared, he was played by the back of some stand-in's head.
    • Thankfully (?), the pilot movie that launched the remake of the original gave us the real deal.
  • In the original Batman TV series, one baddie had the clever idea of forming a gang out of all the major bad guys from the show. Since it would have been impossible to bring in all the guest stars who played those characters, the big fight took place in the dark.
    • Also, they didn't have enough money for fight choreography that week.
  • The Charmed episode "Cat House" was a variation on the Clip Show - featuring Paige and Phoebe going back in time and getting superimposed over clips from previous episodes. As Shannen Doherty had denied producers the chance to use her image after she left the show, only two clips of Prue were used. The first was a shot of her from behind riding on a motorcycle (which was played by a stuntwoman and therefore not technically Shannen) and the second was when Prue had been turned into a dog.
  • Is very common in Tokusatsu shows. Because most heroes have transformed forms that obscure their face, characters can easily show up, despite the actor not being on the set. This way, appearances of past characters are easily realized.
  • Some examples from Power Rangers:
    • In the early second season of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, actors Austin St. John, Thuy Trang, and Walter Jones (who played Jason, Trini and Zack; the Red, Yellow, and Black Rangers) had salary disputes and refused to show up for ADR sessions. Their voices were recorded by other actors for several episodes. They were eventually fired, and their characters only appeared from a distance, from the back, in stock footage, or in full costume, until they were finally written out.
      • Although she retained the same voice actress throughout her appearances, any new footage of Rita Repulsa had her at a distance or with her face obscured to hide the fact that it wasn't her original Japanese actress, Machiko Soga. Eventually, they had Rita use an anti-aging treatment so they could cast an American actress to play her.
    • Similar to Dino Thunder below, when the cast was in Australia filming Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie, the crew shot the 3-Part episode "The Wedding" with stand ins in costume the whole time, with the reason given that the Rangers were trapped in a mansion and forced to stay in Ranger mode while they were trapped by Zedd's monsters, while their scene in the command center unhelmeted used stock footage, while the actors dubbed in their dialogue afterwards.
    • David Yost (Billy the Blue Ranger) walked off the show during Power Rangers Zeo. Depending on the source, either he was fed up with crew harassment over his homosexuality or had problems with his salary. The problem was that he walked out before his character could be written out, thus redubbed stock footage of Billy was employed until the two-parter "Rangers of Two Worlds", which saw the character experiencing accelerated aging (allowing for a Time-Shifted Actor); at the end of the second part, he's rejunevated offscreen and Put on a Bus to the Alien Rangers' home planet, his departure shown via more redubbed stock footage.
    • In "Countdown to Destruction," we only get grunting during fight scenes out of the Alien Rangers, the Gold Ranger, the Phantom Ranger, and the Blue Senturion. What makes this really odd is outside the Alien Rangers, they all had voice actors dubbing their lines anyway, but still remained silent. The returning villains are very much themselves, though!
    • Speaking of the Alien Rangers, the episode "Forever Red" (part of Power Rangers Wild Force) had (almost) every past Red Ranger team up. Apparently, the actor for Aurico (the Red Alien Ranger) had quit acting and couldn't be found, so Aurico was shown only in morphed form and given little dialogue. This despite Aurico's heavy Rubber-Forehead Alien-ness making him a character that very much lends himself to The Other Darrin.
      • Narrowly averted with Danny Slavin (Leo, the Red Galaxy Ranger). He initially refused to film the episode since he had quit acting (after refusing to do the ADR for a previous Reunion Show), but changed his mind, agreeing to do it as a personal favor to the producer, after principal filming was finished. Slavin had to be digitally inserted into the already-shot scenes. Despite arriving together, Aurico doesn't appear in the final scene; Leo does.
      • Speaking of Danny Slavic, he walked off production of the Lost Galaxy/Lightspeed Rescue crossover, when he learned that his screentime was being cut to focus on a little girl. As such, the episode relied on a body double, an ADR performer and footage from the Sentai equivalent to complete his scenes.
    • Thuy Trang was initially slated to reprise her role as Trini for the Power Rangers Turbo episode "Passing the Torch", with the other retired Rangers (Jason, Zack, Billy, Kimberly, Rocky, and Aisha) portrayed by body doubles. The whole idea was scrapped for unknown reasons.
    • In the Power Rangers Dino Thunder/Power Rangers S.P.D. crossover "Wormhole", Tommy Oliver was always shown morphed and voiced by the White Dino Ranger's actor. In a panel, Jason David Frank states that he was slightly ticked that they didn't ask him first if he was available, because he knew the fans would know right away that he wasn't actually in the suit.
      • Earlier, in Dino Thunder itself, Jason David Frank had commitments requiring him to return to the United States for a time (the show is shot in New Zealand), so Tommy was trapped in his Ranger armor a for part of the season, though the original actor did dub his voice. After that they trapped him in a block of amber for an episode and a half, and after THAT they freed him from the amber but rendered him conveniently invisible for several more episodes until Frank was finally available again.
    • Speaking of SPD, the entire character of Sam the Omega Ranger was a Fake Shemp. Disney didn't want to pay up for yet another regular actor, so it was made that some Negative Space Wedgie had turned his "civilian form" into a floating ball of light. It was so awkward that the writers involved him as little as possible, and might have written him out entirely if they didn't have to work around Stock Footage. And to add insult to injury, Human!Sam did show up in a one-scene cameo in the finale.
    • Subverted with Power Rangers Samurai's "team-up" with Power Rangers RPM – while Scott/RPM Red only appeared morphed the whole time (the reasoning being he was unsure if the air in the Samurai Rangers' dimension was breathable), he was indeed voiced by his original actor Eka Darville, under a pseudonym to avoid losing his spot in the Screen Actors Guild. The rumor persisted for some time before Alex Heartman confirmed it at a Fan Convention. Ironically, Steven Skyler wasn't present for filming, and so Antonio was the one who actually got Shemped.
      • Samurai did this for the Halloween Episode "Trickster Treat," which was made entirely with not only Samurai Sentai Shinkenger stock footage as per the course, but also recycled unmorphed footage from past Samurai episodes for maximum budget saving. In a particular example, they used Shinkenger footage of Mako/Shinken Pink (portrayed by Rin Takanashi) singing on a stage, exaggerating the lighting effects and blurring her face a little to pretend that it was Mia (otherwise portrayed by Erika Fong) standing there.
    • The second season of the anniversary installment, Power Rangers Megaforce, Power Rangers Super Megaforce, ends with a massive battle supposedly involving every Power Ranger ever. Considering that's over 100 characters they obviously couldn't bring everyone back, and they did manage to bring back 11 of the original actors for cameos (though a few of them didn't even get any lines). The rest of the Rangers are all played by full-suited stuntmen and given no dialogue. This is mostly notable because even two of the actors who had previously actually appeared during the season – Alex Heartman (Jayden the Red Samurai Ranger) and Jason Smith (Casey the Red Jungle Fury Ranger) – do not actually appear in the finale and are instead Shemped by stuntmen.
      • The director's cut version gives lines to many who didn't get them before, especially Karone.
  • After filming nine episodes of the Super Sentai show Choudenshi Bioman, actress Yuki Yajima (Mika/Yellow Four) abruptly left the series for reasons unclear to this day (the two most common theories are either a falling out with the production company or she left after eloping with someone.) In Episode 10, her character is thus entirely played by a costumed stunt actor and promptly killed off. Even earlier than that, starting in Episode 7, her lines are dubbed over by an uncredited Mayumi Tanaka.
    • In J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai vs. Goranger, Momo Ranger (Peggy Matsuyama, who is played by Lisa Komaki) is the only Goranger who appears out of costume. Not even Ao Ranger appears untransformed, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that his alter-ego Akira Shinmei is played by Hiroshi Miyauchi, who appears in the movie as Sokichi Bamba (Big One), his character in JAKQ. Besides Ao and Momo, only Ki Ranger is voiced by his original actor (Baku Hatakeyama), while Aka's and Mido's voices were provided by a combination of previously recorded voice clips of the two and a new actor for Aka.
    • The series Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger had two incredibly rare examples of a Tokusatsu show doing the traditional methods of Fake Shemping rather than only showing the character transformed. After the Legendary War in the movie 199 Heroes, many members of different Super Sentai can be seen in the background, without receiving camera focus. They're all played by various suit actors wearing costumes based on the past heroes' civilian outfits, different from the ones who are the focus of the scene, who are played by their actors. In the tv show itself, the opening scene of Episode 31 of Gokaiger, which depicts Basco sucking the greater powers off a former Changeman member... said former member being portrayed by a stand-in in a Earth Defense Force uniform whose face is never seen.
      • In a related note, episode 28 of Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger Shemps the entire ToQger team for a scene where Gokaiger's Sixth Ranger Gai asks to borrow their powers, using replacement actors only filmed from behind. Of course, it helps that the ToQgers are all children who were only imagining themselves as teenagers.
    • Heavily spoofed in episode 11 of Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger when Nobuo seems to be leaving the team. They use several different Fake Shemp techniques, including using Stock Footage, dubbing his voice over a stand-in, and using a composite shot, all done in Stylistic Suck fashion to make it obvious what's going on. And then in the next scene Nobuo's actor is back to interacting entirely normally with the rest of the cast.
  • On the subject of Kamen Rider...
    • During the filming of Episode 10 of the original series, star Hiroshi Fujioka shattered his legs when a motorcycle stunt went awry. They wrote around their star's injury by dubbing Rokuro Naya's voice (Goro Naya's brother, sounds nothing like Fujioka) over outtakes of him out of suit and a stuntman in costume for new footagenote . This lasted for four episodes before they just decided to bring out Kamen Rider 2.
    • In the remake film Kamen Rider: The First, there's a cameo by original series villain Dr. Shinigami. But with actor Hideyo Amamoto having died in 2003, they ended up using archive footage from the series and voice actor Eiji Maruyama to fill in the void. The character only appears on monitors, so this wasn't that noticeable or distracting like some other examples.
    • In the TV special Ultraman vs. Kamen Rider, Ultraman and Kamen Rider 1 are only shown transformed/in suit respectively and voiced by archived sounds.
    • It'd be easier to list who isn't a Shemp out of approximately 33 Ridersnote  in All Riders vs. Dai-Shocker: Black, Black RX, Agito, Ohja, Kick Hopper, Den-O Sword Form, Decade, Diend, Decade!Kuuga and Double. Doing the math, that means that 70% of the movie's cast is a Shemp! Even Amazon – who had a Decade incarnation and got some quality lines in the film – got a new VA.
      • Fujioka was going to appear in the movie, but there was a miscommunication and they had to recast the part. In the next big reunion movie, OOO, Den-O, All Riders: Let's Go Kamen Rider, Fujioka, Takeshi Sasaki and Hiroshi Miyauchi came back to voice their characters, although they did not appear out of suit. And like in the Super Sentai example above, Miyauchi had to do two voices, as Kamen Rider V3 and Zubat. However, everyone else wasn't important to the story so they were, as in All Riders Vs. Dai-Shocker, always suited (with the exception of Kamen Rider Double's lead actors, and that was only because of the convenience of Double's Direct-to-Video movies being filmed at the same time as Let's Go Kamen Riders) and their grunts during their fight scene were given by the same VAs who provided their voices in Vs. Dai-Shocker. Same goes for bad guys, though many do get their original actors, such as General Shadow. On that note, Kikaider is voiced in the film by Tomokazu Seki, his voice actor in the 2000 Kikaider anime series.
      • In Movie War Megamax, the original seven Riders are voiced by their VAs from previous films when possible. It seems the torch for those roles is officially passed, except for super-special occasions.
      • Movie War Ultimatum, has one of the rare examples of maskless Shemps in Kamen Rider. Kamen Riders OOO, Birth, W and Accel make a surprise appearance during the final battle in order to assist Wizard, Fourze, Meteor, and Nadeshiko. The problem is, only Shu Watanabe (OOO) returned to reprise his role. Surprisingly though, rather than only appearing transformed, the movie featured uncredited suit actors dressed as the past Riders for one scene, where they're shown from their backs or in close ups that don't show their faces.
      • In the grand finale of Kamen Rider Wizard, all of the lead Heisei-era Kamen Riders "returned" for an epic Crisis Crossover team-up. The only actor who they could get to reprise his role was Masahiro Inoue (Kamen Rider Decade), so the rest of the Riders were conveniently left in their masks for the entirety of the story. Momotaros from Den-O has his original voice actor, though. He's the one who is never Shemped: not only is there the series' runaway popularity, Momotaros is voiced by one of their regular voice actors and his true Imagin form looks like any Monster of the Week, so he's the easiest to bring back. We haven't seen Ryotaro, the Heroic Host that the Imagin inhabit when they become Den-O, since the last of the Super Den-O Trilogy in 2010, but Momotaros is up for every team-up occasion, even when Den-O doesn't have a big part in the story.
      • Zig-zagged in Heisei Rider Vs Showa Rider Kamen Rider Wars Featuring Super Sentai. Most of the returning Riders are Fake Shemp examples, but Hiroshi Fujioka (the original Kamen Rider), Ryo Hayami (Kamen Rider X) and Shun Sugata (Kamen Rider ZX) return to play their original, 70's-era characters. This is notable as the first time in decades Fujioka actually portrayed his character out of costume, as opposed to simply providing his voice. Meanwhile, the actors who played Kamen Riders Joker, Faiz, Kaixa, Decade, and Wizard all returned as well.
  • Angel:
    • The episode "The Girl In Question" a blonde stand-in was used as apparently Buffy and only the back of her head was in the shot. The season 8 Buffy comics revealed that this wasn't Buffy at all, but one of several Slayers sent to various spots around the world to impersonate her so the real Buffy wouldn't constantly be under enemy fire. The fact that a decoy was sent with this particular old foe of Angel and Spike was Andrew's idea of a joke.
    • However, there was a very painful-to-watch dream sequence where Spike was supposed to be having sex with Buffy. It was actually a blonde stand-in with her face away from the camera and some of Sarah Michelle Gellar's lines from a previous Buffy episode ("The Prom") looped in.
  • In the last episode of Land of the Lost in which he's seen, Rick Marshall is played by an extra in a curly black wig and seen only from behind.
  • Subverted in the Stargate SG-1 episode "200", in which Richard Dean Anderson's character O'Neill is invisible for most of his guest appearance – because the producers were afraid he wouldn't be available. However, they wanted the performance to be as realistic as possible, and so used a green-screen suit whenever the environs had to be manipulated. And, wanting it to be as realistic as possible, when Anderson turned out to be available, they had him play in the green suit. Basically, the Fake Shemp played by the original actor pretending not to be there.
    • Ra, the villain from the movie, appears in one episode, Moebius part 1. Since they couldn't get Jaye Davidson, who had retired from acting, to reprise the role, Ra's mask stays on the entire time. When we see him again in the alternate timeline in the Grand Finale movie, he's unmasked but is now another actor who doesn't look like Davidson, and who doesn't get more screentime than it takes to establish that he's there. However, SG-1 recast the overwhelming majority of characters who debuted in the movie (easier to list who did return; Kasuf and Skaara are still Erick Avari and Alexis Cruz), so it's not too surprising or jarring that Ra is one more Other Darrin case.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 doubled up their cast's roles often enough that they had to do this occasionally when the doubled characters appeared together on-screen.
    • Roman gentleman Callipygeas' final appearance consisted of only an arm and a voice, not because Kevin Murphy was unavailable, but because he had to also play the character of Bobo in the scene in a completely different costume, and in the show's typical fashion the scene was done in one long take.
    • In episode 613 ("Kitten with a Whip") Crow (puppeteered by Trace Beaulieu) visits Deep 13, and is silently menaced by Dr. Forrester's hand, actually belonging to a stand-in wearing the lab coat so Trace Beaulieu could puppeteer. An outtake from the episode feature's Trace's head accidentally popping into frame next to his own stand-in; Trace acknowledges the flub and says "Hi, I'm not in this."
    • Crow also joins the crowd in Deep 13 for Thanksgiving dinner during a Turkey-Day special. With Trace onscreen as Forrester, Crow was puppeteered by someone else and his voice dubbed in later.
    • During a "Little Gold Statue" special Bobo and Observer appeared in the theater at the same time as the puppets they performed, so others did the puppeteering.
    • On multiple occasions the 'bots would Fake Shemp themselves as multiple copies of them appeared on-screen together, such as time-traveling Crow meeting his past self, or Servo's penchant for randomly cloning himself. And the beauty of using puppets for this sort of gag becomes apparent.
    • In The Movie, Gypsy was being puppeteered by Patrick Brantseg so Jim Mallon could concentrate on directing. Brantseg was successful enough at the job, and Mallon tired enough of juggling the role with his other duties, that Brantseg was eventually given the role in the series proper, now with voice duties and official credit.
  • Nancy Marchand of The Sopranos died between seasons. Her final scene was in the premiere of the following season, and was cobbled together using voice clips from previous scenes and a CGI head of her character (whose lighting does not match the rest of the scene) pasted onto a body double.
    • Several seasons later, while Tony is in a coma and envisions standing before a house that is implied to be the gateway to the afterlife, there's a shot of an old woman at the door who turns away before we see her face — based on her hairstyle and movements, this is almost universally interpreted as being Marchand's character (Tony's mother).
  • In one episode of the Witchblade TV show, Sara is being haunted by someone who is kept mostly in the darkness. His face is shown pretty clearly in at least one shot, but at the last second some Special Effect Failure reveal that the ghost is John F. Kennedy, whose face was superimposed (badly) on the actor when he came into the light.
  • Bill Owen in Last of the Summer Wine died having only semi-completed his last three episodes. As a result, these episodes contain lengthy scenes without Compo, preceded by a long shot of Bill Owen's stunt double waving good-bye to the other two and a recording of Compo making his excuse for leaving. The next three episodes filmed after Owen's death dealt with Compo's death.
  • The Tales from the Crypt episode "You, Murderer", which "starred" Humphrey Bogart and had a cameo by Alfred Hitchcock, is notable for being one of the first uses of CGI (along with some inventive camera tricks) to insert deceased actors into a live action work.
  • Rather interesting example in Coupling: The actor who played Jeff had left the show by the last season, but was "brought back" in one episode in a dream Steve has. In this case, Steve imagines that Jeff had a sex change, and "Jeff" is played by an actress who adopts the original actor's mannerisms.
  • The re-imagined Battlestar Galactica had numerous body doubles for Cylons that did not need the actual actor on set.
    • The direct-to-DVD movie The Plan did this with Number 3/D'Anna (played by Lucy Lawless) by splicing in stock footage for her single scene. She didn't even have any dialogue.
      • Kara Thrace and Gaius Baltar both play much bigger (speaking) parts in the movie, but neither Katee Sackoff nor James Callis was involved in making it. Both appear via stock footage and audio.
  • A subversion happens in the first episode of season six of Lost. Several scenes featuring Charlie were shot so as to hide his face, making some people watching think that this trope was going on – however, eventually the camera focused on his face after all.
    • Played straight with Walt during his flashback appearance in "Meet Kevin Johnson."
  • Averted in The X-Files episode "The Unnatural". Recurring character Arthur Dales was set to tell Mulder about the plot of the episode, but actor Darren McGavin was ill. Therefore, Mulder goes to Dales' apartment to find his brother living there... whose name is also Arthur. Perturbed, Mulder questions this. Apparently, they had a sister and a goldfish also named Arthur.
  • The producers of Community couldn't get Malcolm-Jamal Warner back as Shirley's husband for the episode "Heroic Origins", so they used a stand-in who had no lines and was only seen from behind. The episode did the same for Pierce since Chevy Chase had quit the show, and actually Lampshaded it.
    • In Season 6, there was an instance of a fake Flashback to one of the earlier seasons. Donald Glover had left the show during Season 5, so Troy's "appearance" consisted of an arm waving at Abed from off-screen. This was at least Played for Laughs.
  • Passions did this to Timmy after Josh Ryan Evans died, as Timmy was so intricately linked to the show's stories that it made no sense to Brother Chuck him. Bizarrely, despite Timmy's final actual appearances in the show being after he became a real boy, he would be represented instead by the gloves used when the character was an animated doll.
  • Mad TV did a Stuart sketch after Mo Collins, who played Stuart's mom, left the show. Her character was sleeping on the couch with her face not shown.
  • In the Norwegian version of The Julekalender the farmer's dog is played by the same animal that appeared in the original Danish version – even though it had gone to the happy hunting grounds in the meantime. All the shots of the dog are footage from the original series, and a scene where one of the characters talks to the dog is actually an elaborate composite shot.
    • Same footage and a similar composite-shot technique were used in The Joulukalenteri, which is the Finnish version of the show.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Stasis Leak", Claire Grogan (Kochanski) was unavailable for the studio shoot, so in her one scene her dialogue was removed and the assistant floor manager had to stand in for her, wearing a big hat that partially covered her face.
  • When Genie Francis left General Hospital, her character Laura Spencer was put into a catatonic state after killing her beloved stepfather. Whenever Laura's friends and family went to visit her, the producers used a body double sitting down in a chair and framed each shot over the body double's shoulder so the audience would see the person talking to Laura but would never cut to Laura herself (which worked because Laura couldn't talk back anyway).
    • This was played with when Genie Francis made two brief returns in 2006 and 2008. It was also done in 1998, in which Laura was offscreen taking care of her mentally ill mother as well as hiding from the evil Cassadines (in Real Life, Genie Francis was taking an extended maternity leave). The few scenes of people visiting Laura again had her being seen only from behind, though this time her non-response was inexplicable.
      • In her first return, the shot was framed as it always was when Laura would make an 'appearance', but then cut to a shot of Genie Francis as she spoke signalling that Laura had awoken from her catatonic state. Then once Laura had relapsed (and Genie Francis had finished her guest stint) the producers went back to using the same methods they used before.
      • In Genie Francis' second return, Laura began having conversations with her daughter Lulu (who was locked up in the same mental hospital) in scenes where Genie Francis actually played the role, but it was left ambiguous as to whether Laura had awoken or was just a figment of her daughter's imagination since none of the other characters were aware that Laura had seemingly recovered. Once Lulu had been convinced that she'd imagined her conversations with her mother, the Fake Shemp returned and it seemed to many viewers that Genie Francis' second stint was already over. That is until Lulu was threatened by another character whilst visiting the supposedly Fake Shemp version of Laura and Laura (the real version, played by Genie Francis) rose out of her chair to protect her daughter. This time Laura stayed lucid and was sent off to Paris to 'fully recover', and has not returned since then.
  • Home and Away was left with a rather awkward situation when Vinnie Patterson was sent to jail, leaving his wife and son still on the show. With Vinnie's jail sentence going to end at some point, actor Ryan Kwanten unlikely to return to the show and Ada Nicodemou, who played wife Leah, not leaving any time soon, the decision was taken to kill Vinnie off screen. Then, they revealed he was Just Hiding but still couldn't get hold of the actor and had already set Leah up with a new love interest, so Vinnie returned disguised in a large bear costume to spend one last day with his family and leave them a farewell note. (Then, after all that trouble...they killed him off screen again.)
  • In the mid-80's, actor Stacy Keach was arrested for drug possession while starring in Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer on CBS. As the show was in the middle of production, the producers brought in a body double to stand in for Keach, and famed impersonator Rich Little to do the dialogue in voiceover.
  • A very strange example from the Home Improvement episode "Slip Sleddin' Away": in the last scene (at 6'30), Mark is sitting on the couch, his head obscured by a cap and a magazine he's holding. A blooper from the end credits confirms that it isn't Taran Noah Smith. Why this was done when there was no reason to have Mark in the scene at all is a mystery.
  • After George Dzundza left Law & Order at the end of the first season, a body double (wearing a trenchcoat and hat, standing in a heavy rain with his back to the camera) was used during the opening of Season 2 for when Max Greevey is gunned down in his driveway. Despite this, the scene worked as it was framed by Mike Logan talking on the phone to Greevey's wife Marie, who was watching Max from their kitchen window. When the gunman starts shooting, the scene jump cuts to Marie screaming, then to Logan back at the precinct shouting "Marie!" into the phone.
  • When Bea Benaderet became too ill to continue her role as Kate Bradley on Petticoat Junction, the character's absence was initially explained by an extended trip. In the episode in which daughter Betty Jo gives birth, Ms. Benaderet's voice is heard as a voice-over when Betty Jo reads a letter from her mother. For the climactic hospital scene, the returning "Kate" is played by a body double, silent and seen only from behind.
  • The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode "The Magical Place" has brief "cameos" from Nick Fury and Maria Hill, which largely consist of Stock Footage from The Avengers and two stand-ins who were kept just out of focus to keep people from realizing they weren't Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders.
  • When Gary Holt died mid-way through recording the second series of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, some on-the-hoof rewrites enabled the series to go ahead with his character featured throughout, although the extant footage of him was spread noticeably thinly.
  • For one bizarre The Tonight Show appearance, Steve Martin had the winner of a Steve Martin look-alike contest come out and start doing his (Steve's) act – after a minute or so, the real Steve Martin hops out from behind the curtain all tied up and gagged, trying to tell the audience it's a fake.
  • On Hemlock Grove Christina, the vargulf Big Bad, is buried alive at the end of Season 1. The character returned briefly in season 2 but actress Freya Tingley did not. Consequently, Christina spends the duration of her appearance in wolf form. The only glimpses of her human form are the arms of a body double that begin to transform as Christina claws her way out of the grave, and a corpse that is shown mauled beyond recognition after she is slain again.
  • On the first episode of the final season of Sliders, the O'Connell brothers are (not) shown in this way. The stand-ins keep their heads down (which makes sense for the characters, as they're being shot at.) The one who is presumably meant to be Quinn yells "Go! Go!" in a voice that couldn't sound less like him.
  • Joking example in The Real Husbands of Hollywood. A gag in Season 1 involved Robin Thicke Hulking Out into Terry Crews when he got pissed off, so when it came time to write him out in Season 2 (as his music career had tied up his schedule), his final scene was shot with Terry in place of the real Robin.
  • The Series Finale of Two and a Half Men has an example that is destined to go down in history. The creators heavily teased the possibility that Charlie Sheen would return for the final episode, but when Charlie passed on the offer, they handled his "return" by briefly showing him from behind, and then having him killed by a falling piano.
  • Robin of Sherwood:
    • This was frequently done with Herne the Hunter , so that the elderly actor John Abineri did not have to spend too many days getting rained on in forests. Any shot where you can't actually see Abineri's face is probably an extra wearing his stag headdress, with studio-recorded dialogue dubbed over the top.
    • In the final episode of the second season, the new "hooded man" who rescues the outlaws after Robin of Loxley's death, and is explicitly shown in the first episode of the third season to have been Robert of Huntingdon was played by one of the stunt performers with his face hidden, as the character's permanent actor had not been cast.
  • Smallville:
    • Michael Rosenbaum left after the Season 7 finale, but the creators wanted Lex Luthor to briefly appear in two Season 8 episodes. They brought in Kevin Miller as a body double, and then hid as much of his face as possible by revealing that the injuries Lex sustained in Season 7 had left him disfigured and in need of a life support mask.
    • At the end of "Icarus", all the heroes attend Hawkman's funeral. Impulse, Cyborg, Aquaman, J'onn and Zatanna are all standing silently in the shadows.
    • Likewise, "Prophecy" brought back Roulette and Vordigan as part of Toyman's Legion of Doom. For whatever reason, neither of the original actors (Steph Song and Steve Bacic, respectively) returned, so the characters were instead portrayed by uncredited stand-ins with obscured faces and no dialogue.
  • Primeval
    • Producers had to kill off a character between Seasons 3 and 4 due to the actor not wanting to move to Ireland to film. They got around this with a brief flashback of Sarah Page getting attacked by a predator in a car and calling out for help. Only the voice is heard briefly.
    • In-universe example in Season 3 when the team pieces together sound bites from an interview with Helen Cutter in order to transmit a fake message to one of her minions.
  • Brazilian actor Domingos Montagner accidentally drowned before finishing his last soap opera. To bypass his absence, the producers shot all scenes that would have featured Montagner from the point of view of his character, implying he was still there.
  • For its 100th episode, Arrow attempted to bring back all of its former cast members, but Colin Donnell (Tommy Merlyn) and Manu Bennett (Deathstroke) were both unavailable. Because of this, Tommy appeared via some obvious CGI while a stand-in actor played Deathstroke in full costume, with him notably being silent for all of his screentime.
  • A voice-only example appears in an episode of Home Improvement; Tim's niece Claire is played by a child, but when she runs up to her room to throw a tantrum, her offstage yelling is provided by Kath Soucie.

  • Milli Vanilli is infamous enough for the fact that the duo presented as the group's singers – Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan – were actually models lipsynching to other people's voices. But it actually goes deeper than that; on their first single, "Girl You Know It's True," the voice Fab lipsynched to was provided by Charles Shaw. After Shaw quit, "Fab's" vocals were provided by John Davis on all subsequent songs. In some cases, Rob & Fab would actually be lipsynching to falsetto vocals contributed by the group's producer, Frank Farian.
  • The Beatles' "Real Love" and "Free as a Bird", recorded for their Anthology album series and TV special. They were billed as two "new" songs by the Fab Four, but in fact are actually two demos made by John Lennon in the late 1970s, which the rest of the band added to.
  • Natalie Cole has released a couple of songsnote  that are "duets" with her father Nat King Cole.
  • Actually very common in music, as any given song may actually contain one band member overdubbing several instruments, or parts played by hired studio musicians or uncredited friends of the band (a famous example being Eric Clapton guesting on the Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"). An essay in the book Kill Your Idols points out that on The Rolling Stones' supposed greatest album, Exile on Main St.., most of the bandmembers were trotting in and out of rehab during the recording, and that very few of the parts were played by actual Rolling Stones.
    • Despite the ubiquity of this practice, it was reported as a disgraceful thing that the duo that appeared onstage as Milli Vanilli were not the ones who sang the actual single. The ensuing scandal effectively ended their career.
      • And the career of the guy who was actually doing the singing.
  • Tupac Shakur rose from his grave to appear on stage alongside Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg during Coachella 2012 thanks to the deployment of a Pepper's ghost and CGI courtesy of Digital Domain. Oh, and the idea of bringing in Tupac's ghost was Dr. Dre's, by the way. And the end result of this effort? Searches on Tupac skyrocketed and Digital Domain's stock increased by 20%.
    • Even months after his death, countless never-before-heard songs by Tupac were surfacing. Some say all he did was write songs while spending 23 hours a day behind bars.
    • Both Tupac Shakur and his contemporary and nemesis The Notorious B.I.G. have had numerous posthumous albums released, the vast majority featuring unreleased songs written while they were alive, utilizing more modern beats, and featuring more modern artists, many of whom they probably wouldn't have worked with were they still alive.
      • In a particularly odd example Tupac's song "Ghetto Gospel" was reworked to "feature" Elton John... in a sample from his song "Indian Sunset".
      • Eminem became vastly more credible to sceptics after featuring on BIG's "Dead Wrong", on one of his posthumous albums. He also produced Tupac's posthumous album Loyal to the Game, which features the aforementioned "Ghetto Gospel".
  • If two big artists do a duet but don't end up touring together, common practice is for the lead artist to sing their part of the song, and have their duet partner appear via stock video footage. For example, Brad Paisley released two duets in a row in 2011: with Alabama on "Old Alabama", and with Carrie Underwood on "Remind Me". Whenever he performs either song live, the acts in question are shown singing their parts on a video screen. This fits well with Paisley in particular, as he frequently uses video screens to show graphics and animation (some of which he does himself) pertaining to each song.
    • Paisley has also had other artists with whom he is touring take Alison Krauss's part on "Whiskey Lullaby": Kimberly Perry on the 2012 Virtual Reality tour, and Mickey Guyton on the 2015 Crushin' It tour.
  • Carrie Underwood has done the "duet partner on video screens" thing herself with "I Told You So", a duet with Randy Travis (the song's original artist), although she also got to perform it with him singing live a few times.
  • Kelly Clarkson's 2013 single "Don't Rush" is a duet with Vince Gill. On at least two occasions, Gill was unable to sing with her on an awards show, so she called in Jason Sellers to sing Gill's part.
  • Rascal Flatts, when on tour with Sara Evans in 2012, had her sing Natasha Bedingfield's part on "Easy".
  • While *NSYNC were in the middle of tour rehearsals, Joey Fatone was badly injured by malfunctioning equipment and was forced to sit out the majority of the filming for "Pop"'s music video. Their choreographer Wade Robson stood in for him while Joey himself was filmed from the waist up and sitting. If you were sharp-eyed enough, you can tell the two apart since Robson is about two sizes thinner than Joey.
  • While The Bee Gees were recording "Stayin' Alive", drummer Dennis Bryon had to leave to attend his mother's funeral. Having trouble finding a replacement on short notice, they decided to sample a couple bars of Bryon's drum part from the already-recorded "Night Fever" and loop it underneath the track. On the Saturday Night Fever album they credited "Bernard Lupe" as the drummer. After it became a huge hit, other artists asked The Bee Gees for Lupe's contact info so they could hire him for their own sessions.
  • Versailles bassist Jasmine You died of an undisclosed illness during the production of Jubilee, the band's second album. While he had already recorded bass parts for some of the songs on the album, it was still incomplete; lead guitarist Hizaki filled in the missing bass parts.
  • At a 2006 concert, Lonestar lead singer Richie McDonald was unavailable due to back surgery, so Josh Gracin took his place for that single concert.
  • The country group SHeDAISY is composed of sisters Kassidy, Kelsi, and Kristyn Osborn. For a time in 2006, Kelsi had to go on hiatus as she was pregnant with twins, so their younger sister Karli filled in for her on both that summer's tour and the music video for "In Terms of Love" (even though Kelsi still sang on that song).
  • Occasionally, two artists will record a song together, but the featured artist cannot be credited due to their label not having the rights, so an alternate version is sent to radio with a different duet partner (although in most cases, radio will play the original version anyway). Examples include:
    • "Picture" by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow. The song started getting airplay before it was even released, but as Kid's label couldn't reach an agreement with Sheryl's, the "official" single version had Allison Moorer singing Sheryl's part. Most stations continued to play Sheryl Crow's version anyway due to her higher name recognition, it was listed as "Kid Rock with Sheryl Crow or Allison Moorer" on the charts, and American Country Countdown alternated between the two versions. In a double example, Kid's 2006 live album Live Trucker has Gretchen Wilson singing Crow's part.
    • "Every Other Weekend" by Reba McEntire and Kenny Chesney. As with "Picture", the song started receiving unsolicited airplay before it was a single, so it was shipped to radio. However, Reba's label couldn't get permission from Kenny's, so the single edit had co-writer Skip Ewing sing his part instead. The song was credited to "Reba McEntire with Kenny Chesney or Skip Ewing" for one week, then in a bizarre inversion of Advertised Extra, credited just to Reba on the charts (even though most stations played just the Reba/Kenny version, as did Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40).
    • Colt Ford's "Chicken & Biscuits" was originally recorded with James Otto singing the chorus, but the radio mix had Rhean Boyer (formerly of Carolina Rain) instead due to label conflicts. However, it was credited only to Ford on the charts.
    • Radney Foster's 2003 single "Scary Old World" was recorded on the album as a duet with Chely Wright, but for the radio edit, her part was taken by Georgia Middleman. As both versions were receiving airplay, both artists were given an "or" credit on the charts.
  • Selena has had plenty of compilation albums released after her death but in 2012 a "remix" album was released with many of her most popular songs being made into posthumous duets with other artists. One notable example is a remix of Bidi Bidi Bom Bom featuring Selena Gomez, who was actually named after her.
  • Akin to the Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood examples, there is a bilingual duet version of Taylor Swift's "Long Live" featuring Brazilian singer Paula Fernandes. The video for this version has Paula singing in a studio while Taylor is shown in a TV screen, performing her part of the song at one of her concerts.
  • When Eric Church sings "Kill a Word" in concert, Rhiannon Giddens' part is sung by Joanna Cotten, a backing vocalist in his road band.
  • During his farewell tours, Kenny Rogers frequently had Linda Davis (best known as the duet partner on Reba McEntire's "Does He Love You", and as the mother of Lady Antebellum member Hillary Scott) sing the female vocals on songs such as "We've Got Tonight" (Sheena Easton), "Islands in the Stream" (Dolly Parton), and "Anyone Who Isn't Me Tonight" (Dottie West).
  • During the Garth Brooks world tour with Trisha Yearwood, whenever Yearwood sang "PrizeFighter", Garth would sing the harmony parts originally sung by Kelly Clarkson (although Clarkson got to sing it a few times during the tour).
  • Jim Bellmore replaced Da Yoopers' lead guitarist and songwriter Joe Potila in 1995. Bassist Doc Bradbury quit soon afterward, so for the 1996 album We're Still Rockin' (the first album recorded with Bellmore), Bellmore played both guitar and bass guitar. When they resumed touring a few years later, they hired Reggie Lusardi as a touring bassist, but alternated between him and Bellmore on the albums (although Dick Bunce, a longtime assistant in the band's interstitial comedy sketches, got to play a few times as well).

  • Continuing her post-Gilligan boycott of the television show, Tina Louise refused to allow her likeness to be used in the Gilligan's Island pinball. As a result, Ginger only appears twice — once on the playfield and once on the backglass — with her face heavily obscured.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Occurs frequently on Sesame Street and various Muppet productions, usually for scenes in which multiple characters performed by the same puppeteer are given dialogue. Normally, another puppeteer will perform the character with fewer dialogue, and the principal performer will loop his or her voice in post-production.
  • Frank Oz was unavailable for much of production on Muppet Treasure Island and Muppets from Space. Other puppeteers played Oz's characters, and Oz dubbed their voices in post-production.

  • The Phil Hendrie Show subverts this, as the concept is to interview fake "guests" who are actually characters voiced by the host. Gullible callers are then allowed to interact with the "guests" who they believe to be real people. Also, during some non-call-in segments, Phil "interviews" various celebrities, but gives them arbitrary voices, such as voicing Martha Stewart as an Angry Black Man. He did once play a "guest" who was supposedly Los Angeles Laker Brian Grant, who outraged listeners by complaining about Vlade Divac's preference for "stinky Lithuanian cheese", but was asked to stop because listeners who did not get the joke were getting angry at the real Brian Grant.

    Theme Parks 
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney Theme Parks features an introduction by the late Rod Serling. His voice-over narration is done by a sound-alike. The part where you actually see Serling is recycled footage from the Twilight Zone episode "It's A Good Life". His original dialogue was "Tonight's story on The Twilight Zone is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction. This, as you may recognize, is a map of the United States." The boarding video changes the background and cuts away from him before he says "map of the United States". The Rod Serling sound-alike finishes the sentence as "a maintenance service elevator, still in operation, waiting for you."

    Video Games 
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, James Earl Jones and Jonathan Taylor Thomas are credited for reprising their roles as Mufasa and young Simba in The Lion King. In reality, it's done entirely through archived sound. Thomas' case works well as the audio recycling was done only for a flashback adult Simba has of Mufasa's death—his only line is the Big "NO!", by the way.
    • Zig-zagged in Kingdom Hearts Final Mix. Because this version of the game, initially a Japan-only exclusive, uses the English voice acting, the cutscene before the fight with the Bonus Boss Unknown has archived audio for Sora and Goofy, with shaking text for the Unknown. This still holds true for the HD collection release in the West, in spite of the fact that the Unknown's true identity has new recorded English dialogue for the Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days portion of the collection. The rest of the cutscenes added for this release, while they feature characters speaking, have no voices at all – the dialogue is conveyed through the subtitles.
    • Averted for later rereleases – The new cutscenes in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix don't have voices in the English track, but do when played with the Japanese track in Theater Modenote  – and the Secret Episode of Birth by Sleep Final Mix uses Japanese voice acting by default.
      • And now the cutscenes added in KHIIFM have had English dialogue recorded for them in the HD ReMIX collections, with one exception - a cutscene featuring the character of DiZ uses archived audio of his original voice actor Christopher Lee.
  • Bill in the Left 4 Dead DLC campaign "Crash Course" counts. His voice actor was unavailable for almost a year (no news yet as to why), so the only lines he has are his generic stock lines. Valve then decided it would be easier to just kill the character off in "The Passing".
    • He returned in time to record new lines for "The Sacrifice". Obviously, the fandom was pleased.
  • On a similar note, the Team Fortress 2 video "Meet the Spy" uses stock audio for the Engineer, Sniper (who only grunts in this case), and Medic—the last being especially noteworthy for recycling a completely unrelated Dummied Out line and still sounding completely natural. The voice actors technically would have been available, though (especially the Sniper's, who besides Ellen McLain is the closest thing Valve has to a full-time voice actor, and who also recorded new lines for that very update.).
    • "Meet the Medic" involved reused clips to a lesser extent. The Demoman's only word ("MEDIC!") is a stock voice clip despite the fact that his voice actor also plays the Heavy, who has plenty of original dialogue in the video. The Scout and Heavy both receive an instance of reused stock phrases mixed in with original dialogue. Interestingly the two words the Spy utters in the video ("Kill me.") are original.
    • The video for the Second Annual Saxxy Awards uses almost exclusively recycled and clipped voiceclips. This was due to the event itself being for fan-made videos, who understandably would use recycled voice clips.
    • Grant Goodeve was unavailable to record the Engineer's lines in Expiration Date, so Nolan North was assigned to provide them in a very convincing sound-alike role. Less convincing are the screams and sole line he recorded for the Soldier as he's being tossed by the bread monster.
  • They appear to attempt this in Jak 3, as Keira has few lines in the game compared to the previous two. By the next game though they brought her back in for some more full scenes, and she was a main character again by "The Lost Frontier".
  • Happens a lot with in both Super Robot Wars and SD Gundam G Generation game series with voice actors who recorded lines in older games but died later on (especially with Kaneto Shiozawa, Hirotaka Suzuoki and Daisuke Gori) since they used archived voices of them in later games.
  • The second Postal game had Gary Coleman as a guest star. Gary returns in the Paradise Lost DLC, but since that game was made long after he died, Gary used recycled clips, with all the plot-relevant lines being relayed by his Dragon-in-Chief McWillis.
  • Happened with Meryl in Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, where she is a boss character in one of the VR missions and she just reuses Olga's lines from her boss fight in the main game. This actually works out well in the Japanese version, as the two characters were voiced by Kyoko Terase.note 
    • A much more traditional comes in Gray Fox's guest appearance in the Japanese version of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Due to Kaneto Shiozawa's death in 2000, the developers simply reused archived recordings from the original Metal Gear Solid for his character.
    • In the Japanese version of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Liquid Ocelot is voiced by Banjo Ginga (Liquid Snake's voice) for most of the game until he reverts back to his original personality at the end. His final line in the game is spoken by the deceased Koji Totani, which is actually a voice clip from the very first Metal Gear Solid.
  • The downloadable Guest Fighter Bayonetta in Anarchy Reigns has lines that are purely recycled from her game of origin.
    • Sega does that a lot. Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed used recycled audio for almost all characters, except guest characters (Wreck-It Ralph and Danica Patrick) and those who had little to no voice acting in their games of origin. And even then, depending on the character, they may still use sound effects from their home games as a form of speech.
  • In Firestorm, the sequel to Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, Umagon is only seen via grainy CCTV footage, while Trato's face is shown either partially in shade or obscured by a cloak.
  • Sirian Blake was the voice actress of Yugiri Mistwalker in Final Fantasy XIV. She was brutally murdered along with her children. Out of respect for Blake's family, Square-Enix did not have the Yugiri character voiced for almost two years. To get around the issue, Yugiri was simply absent for most of the story and any appearances that she did make would be in non-voiced cutscenes. Once the murder case on Blake was settled, the developers hired a new voice actress for the character.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner
    • The Strong Bad Email "original" parodies this (along with The Other Darrin). Strong Bad claims that after Original Bubs left the show, the next few episodes pretended that he was still around, just obscured behind conveniently-placed boxes. And a toothpick model of the Eiffel Tower, far smaller than Original Bubs himself.
    • Show Within a Show Cheat Commandos has this in the short "The Next Epi-snowed", after Crack Stuntman (the main character's voice actor) gets fired:
      Reynold: It's too bad Gunhaver had to go on that secret mission to the moon for an undisclosed period of time... and that when he gets back, his voice might have changed.

    Western Animation 
  • A well-known joke from The Simpsons: While the family are discussing the benefits of animated shows over live-action, Ned Flanders walks past the window and adds, "plus you can replace [the voice actors], and no one can tell the did-iddly-ifference" in a voice that is obviously not Ned's.
  • Speaking of the Simpsons, the show's crossover with Family Guy saw this happen with Harry Shearer. As Shearer did not want to participate in the crossover, while several of his characters appear in it none of them have any dialogue.
  • When Isaac Hayes left South Park, it took the creators completely by surprise. The solution: blatantly copy and paste lines from earlier episodes, edit them together in a ham-handed fashion, chalk it up to Chef being brainwashed by a cult, then McLean the character at the end. The brainwashing excuse meant for the most part they didn't have to put effort into masking the cut-and-paste job.
  • One episode of The Batman has a battle between Batman and all of his villains. They aren't voiced, though, really stealing the thunder from what should be an awesome fight.
  • An episode of The Fairly Oddparents has Chip Skylark singing in archived sound by Chris Kirpatrik.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold often has returning heroes and villains, sometimes as minor cameos and sometimes in full-on team brawls, but usually only about half of them actually get spoken lines. For example, the evil alternate superheroes and the good alternate villains only get a handful of voiced parts (such as Red Tornado's alternate, Silver Cyclone). Others, such as the unnamed evil Aquaman, are unheard.
  • Happens often in Young Justice due to the show having Loads and Loads of Characters and a limited casting budget. For instance, Nightwing and Wally have no lines in the episode "Satisfaction", and most of the superheroines present at Rocket's bridal shower are conveniently silent as well.
  • In the Grand Finale of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!, most of the heroes the team had encountered in the past (Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Wolverine, The Falcon, Black Widow, War Machine, and so on) returned to help fight Galactus. With a few exceptions, almost none of the returning heroes had any lines, as there's no way Marvel could have afforded to pay that many actors.
  • In the Futurama episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before", they put in a completely silent McCoy (as DeForest Kelley had been dead for a few years by that time), not to mention Welshie.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has a bit of this.
    • Iroh's voice actor Mako died not long after finishing recording his season two lines, and Iroh doesn't speak for several episodes at the start of season three (though he is present, and occasionally grunts while exercising in prison). Word of God is that this was already written into the script and had nothing to do with Mako's death, but it was highly, highly convenient.
    • Iroh's new voice actor did a few lines intermixed with Mako's own lines during the latter's dedication episode. To the former's credit, unless you were actually listening for the differences, it's almost impossible to tell it was done by two different voice actors.
  • Anatoly Papanov who voiced the Wolf in Nu, Pogodi! died in 1987, and they recycled his existing lines for episodes 17 and 18.
  • In the fourth season of Reboot, Ray Tracer's voice actor was unavailable, resulting in his role being severely cut down with the couple of appearance he did make being unvoiced.
  • In The Superhero Squad Show, Nebula was initially voiced by Jane Lynch from Glee. Unfortunately, Lynch was unable to record more episodes, so the character was shown gagged in her subsequent appearances to keep people from noticing.
  • Popular rapper Nicki Minaj voiced Sugilite in an episode of Steven Universe, with the character becoming quite popular. However, either due to budgetary or scheduling issues, the production staff hasn't been able to get Nicki back since, so whenever Sugilite has appeared since then, she's been completely silent. This is Lampshaded in the episode "Know Your Fusion":
    Sardonyx: She's not actually in the episode. Do we still have to pay her?
    • Garnet's voice actress, Estelle, was unavailable during the making of Attack the Light, so the game's creators could only use voice clips pulled from the show for her; as opposed to the rest of the main cast recording new lines for the game.
  • In the Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero episode "The QPC" that focused on Penn's aunt and uncle, Boone and Sashi appear, but don't speak.
  • Teen Titans Go! has a nasty habit with this. Many of the side characters, especially the villains, remain silent because of budget concerns, or are simply given The Other Darrin treatment with the main voice actors. Notably, Mad Mod (voiced by Malcolm McDowell in the original series) doesn't say a word in the episode "Old Codgers", and Scott Menville (Robin) replaced Jason Marsden for Billy Numerous' first speaking role in "The HIVE Five".

Alternative Title(s): Invisible Darrin, Shemping